Dancing’s Maks: I’m Going to Keep Stripping
Dancing with the Stars - Maksim Chmerkovskiy
How are you? Hope you had a great week!
I’ve been in New York the past few days, which has been nice. Right after the results show, we went to rehearsals for our team cha-cha. Then we flew out that night to New York because Erin has some stuff to do here. It’s actually kind of cool because it’s a change of scenery. We were traveling all over the place before the show started, but we’ve only been in L.A. since the show started. On the way here, Erin was like, “That was the longest I’ve gone without flying in about six years.” I’m staying at home. Erin saw my studios and she met Sleep! We have a big showcase dinner Friday evening in New Jersey and a lot of my students are going to be there. It’s kind of like their version of Monday night’s Dancing with the Stars where you basically show up and dance and bring your friends and family. Erin and I are going to go over and have people look at our quickstep and see what they think. If they like it, Len will have to like it!
So our samba: First, I want to say that Erin was really happy with the performance. She and I spoke about our performance afterward. It was the first dance she really liked. She was like, “I had a blast. It was so much fun.” I’ll be honest — we were hoping to get the encore, but it was what it was. But it was just really cool that she actually liked it because usually all the performances we do, she’s really nervous about them, but she really enjoyed dancing samba. It was a lot of fun and I think the crowd was crazy about it too.
Yes, I stripped. I had to do what I had to do! It was fitting with the song and the theme. I thought it was pushing the envelope, but it was cool. After Len said what he said, I was like, “Whatever.” Don’t call out my or any other pro’s choreography. That’s what we do. We wouldn’t have a job if we were bad at what we do. If we deliberately break rules — do a lift, break a hold — that’s one thing. But whole stripping thing is a matter of opinion. One person can like someone dancing in baggy pants and a jacket; the other person likes an open shirt and unbuttoned whatever. That’s personal opinion. I mean, you can criticize, but it shouldn’t alter the results. She danced a great samba. She did all the basic steps. Our dance was full of content. We had two stops when she ripped off my bowtie and the sleeves. The rest of the time, she danced non-stop. For Erin to not get rewarded was upsetting to me. She wasn’t upset at me. She was like, “Whatever.” I just don’t want her to get discouraged by the judges or have her discouraged with them.
Len’s explanation for why he was giving her a 7 — because I took off my shirt — also reinforces what I said last week about the judges not being constructive. That explanation has nothing to do with her as dancer, her performance, her leg action, her feet, etc. Whatever criticism they’ve given us the last few weeks about her arms and legs and whatnot, we did take into consideration and we did work on that. I was telling her about footwork and bounce action. We come back this week and he gives us a 7 because I took my shirt off? I’ve taken my shirt off in every season I’ve participated on Dancing. You didn’t penalize those partners. Why Erin and why now? There’s no constructive criticism. I don’t get it. It is what it is. I don’t want people to think I’m a hypocrite. Just because Carrie Ann and Bruno gave us 9s and Len gave us a 7, it doesn’t mean they’re great and he’s bad. I just want them all have some consistency and constructiveness with their criticism.
I also don’t understand how Len gave almost everyone a 7. That was mind-boggling. He gave Chad an 8, but everyone else got a 7. Anybody who watched the show, you tell me if of the seven couples, six danced the same way. Did Jake, Erin, Evan, Nicole, Pamela and Niecy dance the same way? Because going by Len’s scores, there’s no difference between them. You tell me if there’s no difference between them. I’m not going to go as far as talking about it; I just want to point out that Len gave six out of seven couples the same score.
Jake ended up leaving. Now that Kate’s gone, it’s come to the point of the competition where it gets interesting. Nicole is still a front-runner. Evan slipped a little bit; Erin went up a little bit. But all in all, everybody’s working hard and really wants it. For Jake to leave, it was just a matter of “somebody has to go.” Let’s just face the fact that every Tuesday, somebody has to leave. America voted and that’s it. It wasn’t about how little he did or how much he could’ve done more of. I think he certainly showed everybody that he really wanted it and he was really enthusiastic.
The swing marathon was a lot of fun. To tell you a secret, we didn’t really rehearse. We kind of winged it. We had a bit of a jive that kind of had swing base in it. Then we put in the lifts and literally went for it. I’m not going to lie — at the end, we were both exhausted and Erin couldn’t really move. I just started laughing because it was so funny to see her on the stage gasping for air. I looked around and saw that it was just us, and Nicole and Derek. It wasn’t like, “Good enough,” but I knew it was a good performance for something we did not plan. We had fun with it and that’s exactly what we did. I really enjoyed it. It was the first time I participated in a marathon. I think I’ve gotten the point of what the marathon is all about. It’s a little substance and a couple of crowd-pleasing drops and kicks and stuff. Since it was a swing, there are lifts and stuff, and you can’t really choreograph lifts. You teach them and then do it. It was a mambo last season, so that means that you’ll probably have to choreograph and put a little more thought into what you’re going to do. I have a feeling for some reason that Len wanted to send us off earlier. He did say Carrie Ann and Bruno disagreed with him on a few couples. Maybe he has a crush on Erin! Who knows?
There are reports out there that claim I said Len is too old to judge. I want to clarify that because it’s another case of my words being misconstrued. I didn’t say he’s too old to judge; I said that Len acts like he’s outdated with his opinion. It’s a little upsetting because in our business, everybody, including the judges and the coaches, is always growing, always learning. We’re in the business of innovating. If you get stale and you forget what it means to constantly improve and push dancing forward, then you get outdated with an “old” style of thinking, and you’re not qualified to criticize. You can still have an opinion; you don’t need to be a trained dancer to have an opinion. But if you want your opinion to be listened to, then it has to be the opinion of someone who is knowledgeable in what’s happening right now. I think that he needs to figure that out.